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Category Archives: 1830s Romantic

1830s Romantics at the PEERS Victorian Gothic Ball

This weekend I went to the PEERS Victorian Gothic Ball. We were invited to wear 1830s or 1840s clothing and dance the night away, along with actors portraying characters from Jane Eyre and readings by Mr. Edgar Allen Poe and other poets. There is a mini-reunion of our Hopeless Romantics group, along with a few new ladies in 1830s clothing.IMG_9359

I wasn’t quite sure until a few hours before the ball that I would be wearing that particular dress because I had a back injury and could not wear a corset or spend a lot of time with my arms above my head doing elaborate hair. Luckily I already had an easy hairpiece from a previous outing (with a tutorial here) and managed to squeeze myself into the dress sans corset by shifting my petticoats down a bit. The silhouette is not perfect, but I made it to the ball!IMG_9365I am wearing jewelry from Dames a la Mode and Pemberly slippers from American Duchess.

I tried to pose like a serious portrait.IMG_9308

A close-up of the hair and jewelry.IMG_9307

And I shall end with the delightfully silly menu from the bar that evening.IMG_9301

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Easy 1830s Hair! (Plus Instructions)

Last week I went to a PEERS ball set in the 1830s/1840s: the Dances of Mystery and Imagination, hosted by Edgar Allen Poe.

The Hopeless Romantics had a mini-reunion there. Last time I wore my 1830s gown I had a full wig, which looked nice, but was very warm.

This time, I decided to make a new hairpiece and incorporate a raven, in honor of Mr. Poe. I built everything on a headband, so it was very easy to put on and take off. (I also got a lot of amused cackling when I took my hair off at the ball to show everyone what looked like fancy earmuffs!)  The headband made it much easier to get dressed, and to get in and out of a car.

IMG_3883As you can see, the raven has the stylish 1830s Apollo knots!

IMG_3885IMG_3880IMG_3879 I did not take any photos of the construction process, but I hope it’s easy to visualize.

1. I wrapped a headband with black velvet ribbon, and sewed the ends in place.

2. I wired the feet of a dollar store Halloween decoration raven to the middle of the headband.

3. I made 2 fake hair buns. Each one consisted of a long braid that was coiled into a cinnamon bun shape, sewn into place, then covered with a chignon hairnet for security. (I used “Sassy Collection” brand fake braid hair from Sally Beauty Supply because it is cheap and decently realistic for the price).

4. I hotglued (yes glued) the buns onto each side of the hairband.

5. I hotglued some flowers to cover the rest of the hairband.

6. I did some more squiggles of hot glue on the inside of the hairband and buns. Once dry, the rubbery texture provides a little more grip.

7. I gave the raven a little hairstyle by pinning 2 loops of velvet ribbon and a fake flower into his foam head.

Fast, easy, and pretty.

I think Mr. Poe approves, sort of.

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Plus it’s shareable hair! Here is Sam, from Overattired.com, looking like a pretty pretty princess.

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The Hopeless Romantics Invade Gaskell Ball, 1830s Style!

There were so many beautifully made gowns at Gaskell Ball. Most of us used the same pattern, but I loved all the variations in fabric choice and trimming.

We made a lovely rainbow!

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And had a ton of fun!

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Here I am with the other pale-colored ladies.

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Kim had such a cute doll-like shorter dress.

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Natalie of Frolicking Frocks looked just like a fashion plate.

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Breana of Mothball Fleet had such a daring and darling color combination, with perfect piping.

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Elizabeth had a bodice with impressive detailing, and a padded hem.

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Amanda’s dress looked great in motion.

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Samantha had such a cute bow sash.

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Jean-Anne went for a bold print that worked out great.

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Jenny looked elegant in white.

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Christina of The Laced Angel used an old sari, to great effect.

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Kathy of Stuff I Sew had an impressively smocked dress. Read the details here!

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Monica had charming little fans and tucks on her dress.

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Kaila had really lovely piping and pleats.

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Cassandra’s dress reminded me of a Disney princess.

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You’ve seen mine, so here’s a silly photo.

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I am looking forward to next year’s theme!

1830s Romantic Dress (Part 6): Finished Dress and Hair

Last night I had a fantastic time dressing up with a large group of other ladies wearing Romantic Era gowns (and crazy 1830s hair) at the Gaskell Ball in Oakland, CA. (I will be posting photos of everyone in my next entry!) I finished my dress with a few days to spare, but did not have time to work on the hair until the last day.

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(I didn’t have time to make a new petticoat, and the old one is a little longer and less poofy than I would like, but that is a project for next time).

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I was very pleased with the way the sheer sleeves came out. I was fretting before about how to pattern them, then went for the easiest approach. I took a yard of fabric, sliced it down the middle, French seamed the pieces to make 2 tubes, and gathered the ends into the armhole or wrist openings.

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The bodice is pleated and embellished with pink and green embroidered lace and little pink ribbon flowers with pearls in the centers. The back of the neckline is also pleated.

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The cuffs are made with the same embroidered lace I have on the bodice neckline. The waist is trimmed with a green scrap of fabric (leftover from a Titanic, and then Gatsby project). The pearl and rhinestone buckle was purchased from Britex.

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The hem is trimmed with embroidered tulle lace, as you previously saw.

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I struggled with the hair, and it is a little sloppier than I wanted, but I think it’s a decent first try. A  number of people asked me if it was my real hair!

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I forgot to buy a foam head, so I used a stuffed toy monkey. I bought a long black wig, and split it into 3 sections. I made 2 fat braids and pinned them into Princess Leia-style cinnamon buns.

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The middle section was braided and left for the moment.

I then used another large piece of fake hair that I split into 2 braids (with wire braided in). I formed pretzel loops and sewed that to the wig, and then used the little braid from the main wig to wrap around the base. I pinned a fake peony in the back, and put some little roses and butterflies into the buns.

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I decorated the front with a little fake bird, a birdcage and some feathers.

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I had a lot of fun with this project!

Final cost rundown (not including fake hair):

Silk taffeta, linen lining, hook-and-eye tape, bird, feathers, flowers, cage: from the stash

Tulle lace: $27.96

Floral lace $11.91

Organza: $3.10

Pearl buckle $9.73

Total $52.70*

*well, I did spend about $200 on silk a few years back, but we’re talking new expenses here. =)

1830s Romantic Dress (Part 5): Bodice

I haven’t done a lot of sewing in the past few weeks because I started work again and have had some long hours. However, here is a sneak peek at the bodice in progress.

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I put on the puff sleeves and started the sheer ones. The neckline has lace. I still need to fuss with the fitting (since the heavy sleeves are pulling things down), the gathers and the cuffs on the sheer sleeves.  The front will be embellished with some little pink flowers.

1830s Romantic Dress (Part 4): Waistlines and Hemlines

I have hemmed the skirt from floor-length to ankle-length to make it more like the fashion plates of the day. Plus, it will be easier to walk and dance in! I also ruffled 2 rows of the embroidered tulle lace and sewed it around the bottom, using 12 out of the 20 yards I purchased.  Here is a sneak peek at the hem.

IMG_1801I tried on my overbust corset, and although it fits just fine, the pressure on my chest is rather uncomfortable since I’m still nursing. Currently I’m trying to decide between wearing an underbust corset as a foundation, or just making the dress to be worn sans corset to be extra comfortable.

However, I am sure that the waistline of the bodice needs to be raised considerably. The TV455 pattern is very long-waisted, even if you did not want the high-waisted look of the late 1820s or early 1830s. This is a picture of the bodice in progress, after I already cut off several inches of fabric all along the bottom. I still need to shorten it more. The bodice looks rather baggy because it is still missing darts, and is also larger than my dress form.

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I am using hook-and-eye tape for the back closure, reinforced by some plastic boning.

 

 

1830s Romantic Dress (Part 3): Bodice

So far, I have been working on the bodice and done the following:

1. Made a pre-mock up and mock-up: Generally, I use the mock-up to line the finished bodice, but since I am working this time with a shape new to me, I opted for a “rough draft” using scrap fabric to get a general idea about the sizing.

2. Cut out the silk fabric and linen lining, pinned down the gathers, and serged the pieces together. The TV455 pattern directions call for a fashion fabric, interlining and lining, but I am afraid it will be too bulky to have so many layers. Plus, If I flat-line and serge all the edges I can alter the bodice more easily should I need to.

3. Pinned and stitched the bodice pieces together. I am in the process of hand-sewing the neckline gathers so the stitching doesn’t show on the outside. Here are some photos of the pieces pinned before sewing (without the darts put in):

The front bodice pieces.

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All pieces, minus the sleeves.

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The inside.

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A close-up of the linen interior and serged edges.

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Some comments about the sizing: The TV455 pattern runs large! According to the pattern, I am a size C, but I found when making the pre-mock-up that the pieces are sized rather generously. I decided that either a size B with the darts taken in a lot, or even a size A with small darts, would fit better. You can see there is a lot of extra fabric.

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There is significant overlap in the back.

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(Some archaeological comments to myself about the scraps: The green satin is from a 2006 Dickens Fair dress, and the floral cotton is from a spring jumperskirt worn to a friend’s wedding in 2009. Both dresses have since been sold).